In the late 1980s, due to overexploitation and global warming, which pushed fish stocks towards northern Europe, scallop fishing in Brittany was under threat.To protect this biodiversity and prevent the loss of their traditional skills, fisherman joined together and adopted a certain number of restrictions. They work with various organizations such as IFREMER (the French Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) and the Iroise Natural Marine Park in order to structure their activity and allow for the sustainable management of the scallop population.
The number of fishing days allowed is now limited. The size of vessels and width of the fishing net mesh is heavily regulated, and a licensing system has been put in place. The fishermen have set their own quotas, which change throughout the fishing season. A number of educational measures have been put in place in schools to raise awareness amongst children from a very young age about the economic and natural wealth that scallops represent for the region. In Erquy, school outings underline the importance of sustainable fishing.
"The scallop fishing in Erquy shows the impact that people have on the environment, including through the choices made by certain “pathfinders for change” in a small city. Through this work and the shared human experience with the fishermen, it became apparent that the will and determination of the community played a crucial role. The people of Erquy welcomed me, they showed me their work and the importance of each gesture."